Friday, 28 August 2009

September summer Tours

We are off again next week on the last of the summer tour with Peter Atkinson MP
Loved the last one - cannot wait to do this one with Peter - it is great to watch him. I am learning a lot

Know that we are definitely meeting up with Gerry Foley of Tyne Tees TV at some stage to do a piece to camera

Hope we bump into Eddie Izzard on the way! When Gerry met Eddie and the politicians -that would be a fascinating show...

Wednesday 2nd September

9:45 am PONTELAND, Broadway Shopping Centre

10:15 am PONTELAND, Merton Shopping Centre

11:15 am STANNINGTON, outside Ridley Arms

11:30 am WHALTON, outside village hall

11:50 am BELSAY, at village shop

12:20 pm MILBOURNE, outside the church

12:35 pm DALTON, at the post box

1:25 pm STAMFORDHAM, car park by the Bay Horse

1:55 pm MATFEN, outside village shop

2:55 pm GREAT WHITTINGTON, outside Queen’s Head

3:20 pm BARRASFORD, at the bus stop

Thursday 3rd September

10:00 am ROCHESTER, outside tea room

10:30 am OTTERBURN, outside Percy Arms

11:10 am KIRKWHELPINGTON, outside village hall

11:40 am WEST WOODBURN, outside post office

12:00 pm RIDSDALE, by the Gun Inn

Eddie Izzard runs through Ponteland next week

Ponteland will not know what has hit it when next week Eddie Izzard, the legendary comic, continues his marathon trek through the town on his way south to London!

The man is both a comic legend [I confess to having been to 4 of his gigs] and doing a great job for charity by running around Great Britain doing gigs as he goes, and raising money for Sport Relief.

I attach below the link to the Journal report of his trip next week:

Please look out for him and contribute money to his Sport Relief page as he runs from Ponteland to Durham - will try and meet him myself but diary not looking good.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Allendale Show and Ponteland Dinner

At the Allendale Show

Busy day in Haltwhistle, Allendale and Ponteland:
- early start coffee morning and get together in Haltwhistle, courtesy of Isobel James who threw open her house to her friends and neighbours.
- then on to the Allendale Show, which suffered from regular downpours but was a great success; got waylaid in the farmers beer tent, which was little hardship.
- then to Ponteland for an amazing sit down dinner for 60 in Darras Hall, organised by Roma and her team. Delicious food, and lots of chat. As darkness fell we were reduced to candlelight. Gave a short speech on how we need to do more to inspire people to vote for us - and that Labour losing the election is not enough; people need to be enthused by us rather than just put off the government. Everyone on great form as Newcastle United had won 3-0!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Haltwhistle Action Day

With Ian Hutchinson outside Greenholme with our leaflet

Outside Haltwhistle Hospital - roll on the rebuild!

A great day in Haltwhistle where 8 of us delivered over 1700 leaflets in the morning in support of Ian Hutchinson and his campaign on behalf of Greenholme, the day care centre that the council want to close. Haltwhistle has lots of hills as all the team can testify!
But it will be worth it as the consultation closes on Thursday 20th August and we wanted to make sure everyone in the town had a chance to object / make representations.
Haltwhistle has been a Labour town since Ramsay MacDonald was a boy but things are changing: there are a number of factors - obviously the unpopular government helps, but the town is changing with more outsiders, new businesses and younger families moving in. People who would never have voted anything but Labour in the past are coming up to us and switching. People like the way that we have moved to the centre ground. Our canvassing also shows the Liberals are struggling as a result of being in control of the council as well.

In the late afternoon played golf with Councillor Nick Holder at Tyne Green Golf Club in Hexham - played well till an errant slice nearly took out the 4.30pm train to Carlisle - the railway adjoins the tee...oops!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Hexham Summer Tour - Meeting the NFU

Peter and I with Johnny Ball, Annabel the cardboard cow, and the man from the National Park ...

Arrived at Once Brewed to see the NFU roadshow in town with Annabel [A cardboard cow], and some real sheep. Had a good chat to the amazing NFU man Johnny Ball - who agreed that his life on tour promoting farming round Britain [he does a different town or location every day] was like an actor / ageing rock star on tour. Spent a good hour chatting. The disastrous impact of the sheep ID scheme cannot be underestimated.

In the evening we had an amazing Patrons Club Drinks Party in the garden at Haughton Castle - great fun until the midges descended at 9pm. Gave a short speech on what we spend the Patrons money upon and why we need to win, not just here, but in Carlisle, Tynemouth, Stockton South, Jedburgh / Borders and Hartlepool to name a few.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Prudhoe Allotment Open day

Prudhoe has an amazing allotment high up on the hill that spreads out over an area that is deceptively large given that it is in the heart of the town - Peter Atkinson MP and I were lucky enough to be asked to visit on their open day; I was shown round by Joan, who lives locally and does such a lot for the town. Came away very humbled + the proud owner of some rhubard, onions and lots of runner beans!

A great cause - which is really well run.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Hexham Road Safety Campaign

Photo: With John Rourke and Peter Atkinson MP showing John's 2000+ person petition for better road safety in Hexham.

This is a cross party camapaign to try and bring a safer environment around Allendale Road in Hexham - several kids have been hurt lately and John Rourke and Alison Hands are leading a great campaign to try and bring the speed down and get a safety camera. Peter Atkinson and I were happy to lend our support. Afterwards I sat down with John and Alison and worked out how to take the campaign forward in partnership with colleagues from other parties

My first day on the Summer Tour saw 10 villages, multiple meetings and much to learn - it is a great institution, and politics in the raw.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

August Summer Tour with Peter Atkinson

Very excited to be off on part of the tour with peter next week - this is a tradition that has been going on in this constituency for over 50 years - every summer the MP literally goes round every highway, byway, hamlet and village and takes the time to talk to everyone - as well as conducting multiple surgeries on the move
For my part I am in Ponteland on Monday then off on the road with Peter for 3 days - there are another 2 separate tours from the one set out below, that take place at other times over the summer. The point is fairly made that the media say Mps do not work the summer "holiday" but this is exactly what they should be doing - spending time with the people who they look after and represent

Tuesday 11th August
10:00 am CORBRIDGE, outside the library

10:40 am NEWTON, Main Street

11:00 pm OVINGTON, village green

11:25 pm OVINGHAM, car park

11:45 pm WYLAM, outside village store

12:20 pm HEDDON, shopping centre

2:00 pm PRUDHOE, all afternoon

Wednesday 12th August
10:00 am Meeting at Hadrian’s Wall Heritage

11:45am SLALEY, outside village shop

12:20 pm BLANCHLAND, outside village shop

1:00 pm SNODS EDGE, outside the village hall

1:30 pm WHITTONSTALL, The Anchor car park

1:50 pm NEW RIDLEY, Dr Syntax car park

2:10 pm HEDLEY ON THE HILL, by The Feathers

2:30 pm MICKLEY SQUARE, outside ‘Jiggery Pokery’

2:50 pm STOCKSFIELD, station car park

3:20 pm RIDING MILL, outside village shop

Thursday 13th August
9:30am FOURSTONES @ the garage.

9:50am NEWBROUGH, town hall

10:20am HAYDON BRIDGE, outside CO OP

11:00am BARDON MILL, outside village shop

11:25 am HENSHAW, village green

11:45 am ONCE BREWED, Information Centre

12:30pm GREENHEAD, outside village hall

1:00pm GILSLAND, outside village shop

1:35 pm HALTWHISTLE, in the Market Place

Friday we are canvassing in Haltwhistle in the morning and then I am playing golf at Tyne Green golf club in the evening with Nick Holder, local councillor in Hexham